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Purchasing a mattress can be a tiring, frustrating process; there are a lot of sales hoops to jump through. Ideo is the startup looking to make purchasing mattresses easier with its own online store and product. The it may not be a fintech solution or a Uber-style business, but it’s a damn fine idea.
“Everyone has a mattress shopping story as I found out,” says Robin Jones, CEO and founder of Ideo.
The idea for Ideo came together from two different events in Jones’s life. He had previously been working in the online space for the past five years, trying different ideas, and running around 20 different websites. He was then looking for a product that was not only sellable online, but easy to ship anywhere in South Africa. He knew the item would need to have a sweet spot price point for consumers and the ability to fill a core need as well.
Jones’s second revelation came from his personal experiences when needing to purchase a new mattress. After researching the subject online as thoroughly as possible, he realised the difficulty consumers face when purchasing one of these sleeper products, and the horror stories they create.
“I have mine [horror story], but I didn’t buy a mattress. I moved and left my mattress behind. I started designing my own mattress, researching materials, experimenting,” says Jones.
He then got started on creating his own mattress, something that was unique in almost every way. “I started by solving my own problem, designing the perfect sleep surface, the delivery method, and packaging would come much later while researching materials online. I found out China has been rolling packing mattress for years. After seven months seeking out the best materials from the best suppliers, each iteration brought me closer to a finished product with no compromise.”
The Ideo mattresses are made exclusively from three layers ‘new-generation’ foam. The first consists of latex foam, then a memory layer for the second, and finally a polyurethane for the final, base layer. Each layer is bonded with a water-based adhesive.
Along with the custom design, Ideo offers a 60-night trial on all mattresses. This time-frame is used to combat the item being sold online as well as the 10 or so minutes consumers usually have in shops when trying out a mattress. All mattresses also come with a ten-year warranty, which is the same time-frame as most competitors.
The mattresses come shipped in a box that easily fits onto the backseat of a car. They are compressed, vacuum sealed, folded, and inserted into a sleeve before boxing. It’s a far easier packing and shipping process than hoping the mattress store has a delivery truck and hauling the thing up several flights of stairs.
Ideo is a bootstrapped startup that soft launched in December. According to Jones, the company will officially launch in January, but has already been receiving sales for his self-designed product. Right now he is targeting millennials and 7-10 lsm internet users.
The South African mattress industry looks to be large, with Steinhoff subsidiaries being the largest of all bedding components, as well as owners of some mattress stores. By Jones’s own estimation, it could be a R10-billion industry.
“Starting with their sales I estimated the mattress and bedding industry (retail) in South Africa to be worth around R10-billion per annum, with no data from privately held companies or reliable government statistics this could inaccurate,” he said.
Jones looks to first establish the Ideo branch before branching out, but his focus right now is their pilot mattress. “Once I have established Ideo as a brand, I would more likely add bedding, a pillow, but only if I can produce a superior product that can really add value to the consumer.”
If Jones can capture less than 0.5% of the market, that would translate into 700 units a month, according to his own estimations.
Watch an unboxing video of the mattress below.
Update: addition of unboxing video.